Feb 6, 2015
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Mahafaly Funerary Post, Madagascar

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Funerary post from the Mahafaly people of Madagascar. Wood.  Collected in Madagascar circa 1969.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art provides context for these sculptures:

These wooden tomb sculptures commemorate deceased individuals while addressing more abstract concepts concerning the nature of existence after death and the relationship between living and dead. Funerary sculpture is understood not as a direct or literal portrait of the deceased but as a locus of connection with the ancestral realm. The Mahafaly have adopted the term aloalo to refer strictly to the works that are used at royal burial sites. Aloalo is derived from alo, which implies a sense of an intermediary or messenger; the term therefore refers primarily to the work’s function and not necessarily its form.

This  aloalo is in its collection:

Standing Figure (Aloalo) with Superstructure. 20th Century. Madagascar, southwestern region, from the Mahafaly peoples. Wood, H. 66″ × W. 9″. Accession Number: 1998.317.1 mma digital photo #DP104841.

Standing Figure (Aloalo) with Superstructure.
20th Century. Madagascar, southwestern region, from the Mahafaly peoples. Wood, H. 66″ × W. 9″. Accession Number: 1998.317.1
mma digital photo #DP104841.

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1 CE to Present · Madagascar · Sculpture

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